Ever Expanding WASTE-LINE
White shirts or trousers, funky caps or umbrella, iphone or android – sounds familiar? It’s a wish list, like the ones we prepare every season before we hit the markets to own them all. Now rewind a bit. Do you remember a moment when you were content with what you had? Try and recall everything you wanted last summer. You may have stretched yourself to your last penny to buy it all. And where is that stuff now? Some might be in the store room. The rest might have reached the dumping site already.
Fashion trends appear and disappear within weeks, not even months, before the next “it” becomes “in”. Buying the latest items or following trends is what everyone does. Do you really want to be just a fashion follower? Why not break the tedious cycle of following and be a trend setter for a change? All you need for it is what you already have – your old stuff. And you could re-mould it completely – make it into something else. Rethink, re-buy (used items) and reuse. Reusable things often come replete with new character. You can find unique, vintage items, or make your own unique versions by remodelling them. Come on, gear up for the re-trend
Bigger, greater, newer? Not always
Easy access to information on items of all varieties has hiked expenditure amongst Indians like never before. The result? Skyrocketing per capita consumption, and humongous waste generation. Take clothes, for instance. The National Household Survey, 2008, released by The Textile Committee, Ministry of Textiles, reveals that Indians purchase 22.41 metres of textiles in a year. This also means that the previous year’s used apparels end up in landfills. Post-consumer waste material, discarded after use, is steadily adding up. But does that clean up our act?
The penchsnt for using the latest, high-tech electronic equipment is contributing to a new but lethal stream of waste called electronic-waste. Obsolete computers account for a gigantic portion of the overall e-waste currently found in landfills. In 2007, India generated 3,80,000 tonnes of e-waste from discarded computers, televisions and mobile phones. In a landmark report released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), e-waste from old computers in India would jump by 500 per cent in 2020, from 2007 levels, and by 1800 per cent for discarded mobile phones.
Designed for the Dump
New technology and upgraded versions of gadgets are flooding markets like never before. And the volume of waste resulting from the short life span of a product is compounded by growing toxicity. You might be aware that disposal of toxic waste without proper liners and treatment creates water pollution in rivers and streams. But it does not end there. All vectors of diseases like the plague, malaria, typhoid and cholera – the flies and mosquitoes – breed here and pose serious health risks, both for humans and the ecosystem. We are living in a time of buy-to-throw- away consumerism. Products are made psychologically obsolete through fashion movements long before they actually wear out. We feel that new acquisitions will make us happy, but does the feeling last? Is keeping up with the Joneses or the Jindals all that it is made out to be? So, will you be a pioneer of Reuse today and position it as the new mantra for style? At least, when the cashier at the grocery store asks you “paper or plastic”, will you reply “Neither, I have my own cloth bag”? We may not have an Environmental Advocate badge for you just yet, but you could make the planet smile
Waste dumps are a haven of shelter and food for rodents. Rats, in particular, thrive off them and carry food-spoiling microbes, besides spreading diseases, damaging electrical cables and other materials, and inflicting unpleasant bites. The plague in Surat in Gujarat in 1999 was, in fact, directly seen as an outcome of the increase in its rat population.